During the 1990s, Lush rose to prominence in the shoegaze and Britpop scenes. However, they were never able to fully translate their critical acclaim into widespread commercial success. Following a failed reunion in 2016, Emma Anderson, who co-fronted the band with Miki Berenyi, continued to work on songs that she had originally intended to collaborate on with her bandmates. The end result is her first solo album.
However, while Anderson’s previous work with Lush and the Sing-Sing project heavily featured guitars, her new project Pearlies is primarily focused on electronic pop. Despite this shift in style, Suede’s Richard Oakes does contribute guitar to four tracks. The result is a captivating listen: Anderson’s signature songwriting is still evident, but with the help of producer James Chapman, the sound is reminiscent of dreamy Goldfrapp. While it may not immediately grab the listener, the subtle melodies in songs like “Bend the Round,” the hypnotic “Clusters,” and the folk-inspired “Willow and Mallow” become more enchanting with repeated listens. This successful reinvention has surely left Anderson wondering why she didn’t pursue a solo record sooner.